Finding tenants is only half the battle. To ensure your rental property is both occupied and secure, you’ll need to know how to screen tenants properly. After all, you don’t want to accept just anyone and risk property damage or worse. An effective tenant screening process will help you choose the best tenant out of the prospective tenant pool you have.

The following is a guide to help you screen tenants as effectively as possible!

1. Have an Ideal Tenant in Mind

Before you start the screening process, you want to have an ideal Regina tenant in mind. An ideal tenant is one who meets the following criteria:

  • Will pay rent on time

  • Has stable employment

  • Has a good rental history

  • Doesn’t have a relevant criminal conviction

  • Is responsible and maintains the property

Next, set up a screening process that will help you meet these standards. Among other things, require a tenant to fill out an application, ask for references, and run credit and background checks.

2. Start the Process by Pre-Screening Tenants

Pre-screening can help you save time on a candidate who doesn’t fit your initial criteria or those that may not be serious. Additionally, the process helps enhance your overall tenant screening process by allowing you to set expectations early on.

pre screen tenants

For best results, begin pre-screening tenants during the first initial contact you make. Get to know them by asking some questions:

  • Why are you moving out of your current residence?

  • Does your current landlord know you’re looking for another place to rent?

  • Do you smoke?

  • Do you have a pet?

  • How much do you make?

  • What is your credit rating?

  • Will you allow me to run your credit and background check?

3. Require All Prospective Tenants to Fill Out a Rental Application Form

Once you have a list of interested, potential tenants, have them fill out an application form. Vital information to ask for here should include their:

  • Contact information

  • Current residence, as well as the name and address of their landlord

  • Names and contact info of prior landlords

  • Names and contact info of current and prior employers

  • Authorization to check their credit and background

4. Do Income Verification

Don’t just ask for their names and contacts and go by what the tenant is saying in regards to their income. Call their employer and verify the information provided by the tenant. The following are some questions you should ask the tenant’s employer:

  • How much is the tenant making?

  • How long have they worked there?

  • Is the tenant reliable?

As a general rule of thumb, only consider tenants making at least 3x the monthly rent amount . So, if the rent amount is, say, $1,500, then only consider tenants making at least $4,500 a month. But this isn’t to mean that you shouldn’t accept a tenant making below the 3x rule. Listen to their situation.

5. Get in Touch with Current and Prior Landlords

Get in touch with both current and prior landlords. Why? Because a current landlord may lie just in the hopes of getting rid of the tenant. But a prior landlord, on the other hand, has no reason to do so.

contact previous landlords

The following are questions you may want to ask them to learn about the reliability of a prospective tenant:

  • Do you know the person?

  • How long have they rented from you?

  • Did they pay rent on time?

  • Did they abide by other terms of the agreement?

  • Can you rent to them again?

Be aware of tenants that may provide falsified information . If a tenant has something to hide, they may request their friend or family member to pretend to be a prior landlord. To ensure you’re dealing with an actual landlord, ask them about landlord-specific information that one in the industry would be knowledgeable about. Depending on how they answer, you should be able to tell whether or not they are legitimate.

6. Analyze a Prospective Tenant Credit Report

This is a no-brainer: always rent to a tenant who has a good credit rating. A good rating shows that the tenant is financially responsible and will take their responsibilities seriously.

A good credit rating should be at least around 670 . Those with a lower rating may indicate a high risk of defaulting on rent owed. But, again, use your best judgment if you come across a tenant who doesn’t meet this requirement.

7. Scrutinize Background Information

A background check can reveal a lot about a tenant other than just showing you their credit and employment history. Generally, you can also expect to get information about their:

  • Criminal history. If something comes up, don’t take it as automatic disqualification. Find out about the relevance of the conviction. Red flags include drug offenses and violent offenses

tenant background information

  • Eviction history. Be on the lookout for things such as tenant judgments, court records, and eviction warrants. These could be indicators of non-adherence to the terms of the lease agreement. And, if a tenant has done it before, chances are they can do the same elsewhere

8. Interview Prospective Tenants

Once you have verified their information, move on to the next step and interview them. Ideally, go over the documents with the tenant and give them an opportunity to review anything that came up. They may be able to clear up any mistakes you came across in your findings.

Next, ask them a few interview questions to further gauge their suitability. The following questions should get you started:

  • When would you like to move in?

  • Are you ready to pay the move-in fees?

  • How long would you like to rent the apartment?

  • How many people will you be living with?

  • Do you have any questions for me?

Bottom Line

Renting to quality tenants is the right recipe for success as a landlord . A quality tenant will pay rent on time and care for your unit, among other things. However, if you are just starting out or simply lack the time or experience to do it yourself, GoodDoors Property Management can help!

We are a professional Regina property management company and have services to cover all your rental property’s needs. Get in touch to learn more!